Puerto Rico, an island in the Caribbean, is a US territory which means that Puerto Ricans are Americans. However, the islanders cannot vote in presidential elections because Puerto Rico has not been declared a state. There is a lot of debate on whether it should become a state or become independent. That is a discussion for another article. The more urgent problem, for now, is that the last two years have been difficult for the island since it has been hit by hurricanes, Irma and Maria. Puerto Rico went days without electricity, internet, and cell phone service. The island has had to constantly rebuild with very little help from the federal government. The administration has not provided enough federal aid in the last two years to help the island rebuild leaving it to rely on non-governmental organizations and people to rebuild.
Rebuilding after hurricanes
In 2017, Irma and Maria struck the island leaving it in shambles. People’s homes were demolished, while power lines were cut off, to name a few problems which caused many to flee the island. Thousands of Puerto Ricans have left for mainland US to look for work yet many have stayed. The island has received volunteers who are helping to rebuild homes and schools. Also, the non-profit organization ConPRmetidos has connected with the community to provide them with generators and support community leaders. ConPRmetidos has connected people with different organizations in order for the island to receive their help. Clearly, Puerto Ricans are doing the work to rebuild their island and to revive their economy.
Before the presidential election, Trump announced a $13 billion aid package to Puerto Rico. The money will go to rebuild a power line three years after Maria and Irma hit the island. Even though the island does need the money, the timing was more convenient for Trump’s reelection. The longer the government takes to provide aid to Puerto Rico, the longer it will take for them to recover. It is time to give more federal aid to Puerto Rico and cancel their debt. President Biden has proposed to look into canceling Puerto Rico’s debt and investing money into the island. Right now, Puerto Ricans are taking on the work to bring money into the island.
Advocating for Puerto Rico
So far, Puerto Rico has vaccinated about 60,000 people against the coronavirus. The governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi decided to reopen beaches but requires physical distancing and wearing a mask. It is unknown how long beaches will stay open because they could close again. Over 82,500 Puerto Ricans have contracted the virus. Moreover, Pierluisi wants Puerto Ricans to have more access to vaccine doses as well as more federal aid for the island. He recently advocated for Puerto Rico in Congress as well. Equally important, Puerto Rico has no representation in Congress or the Senate. Clearly, it is really necessary to keep Puerto Rico in the minds of Congress and the federal government. Puerto Rico needs all the help it can get.